Quick backstory: I spent the better part of a decade building up my business’ presence on various social media platforms. Never made it big or anything, but by the end of 2022 we had some 39K followers on Instagram, 25K on TikTok, 13K on Facebook, and around 11K on Twitter. For a lot of reasons, I deleted all of these accounts on Christmas Day of 2022 (I’d actually deleted Twitter a few weeks earlier after Elon started openly dogwhistling White supremacists) after a month-long campaign of moving our following to our email list, Patreon, and Discord.
Here are some things that happened.
Our Business Didn’t Collapse
Two years ago I had a major rift with a former employee, who was tasked with heading up our sales and marketing, about whether social media or email was the key driver of our sales. After she sent a number of emails that resulted in lackluster conversions, she was adamant that our customers were only looking at our social media and responding to e.g. product releases through our Instagram stories. I was equally adamant about the opposite: back when I was doing the emails, sales would flood in right on the heels of emails being sent; whereas social media seemed to drive very little product revenue.
She wound up leaving the company after less than four months on the job and, when I went back to writing our emails, performance returned to normal. The key thing seems to have been that she was writing long, newslettery, multi-topic emails that did a really good job of making us look busy and important, but did a really bad job of focusing our customers on what we needed from them. My emails were much more focused*: “we have ribeyes in stock; pretty please, buy some.” And it works.
*This isn’t because I’m some marketing genius. It’s because I was usually in a really big hurry when writing emails, so brevity was a necessity
This experience gave me confidence that I could set social media aside without sending my sales off a cliff, but there was one area of our business that I was worried about: our mutual aid program. We devote about a third of our farm’s production and the production of other farms we partner with to food aid organizations, and have our farm’s broader following…